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Crossing Arts Exhibit : The Passion of Maui Heats up Downtown Brainerd

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Trotter Alexander
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Magic Conch Shell

Trotter Alexander and his Inspired Series 'The Story of Ka Makana O’ka'

The spirituality in Hawaii is very, very real and very haunting. So I didn't want to just do Hawaii in a way that is just comprehensible. I wanted to do it where it kind of exceeds the realism aspect and makes you sit down and be like, ‘these are very extreme postures. These are very extreme compositions. What does that mean?’ And that intrigue... is the incentive for them to look deeper in it. That's what all artists should do. – Trotter Alexander

The Crossing Arts Alliance in Brainerd hosts Chicago-based Trotter Alexander’s exhibit The Story of Ka Makana O’ka this month. The series draws on the artist's deep love for Maui and his time spent with living with locals on the island. His show - an infusion of abstract realism, Hawaiian and Chicago street art, indigenous legends, symbolism, and so much fiery passion…is a collection visitors won’t soon forget.

...Realism is dope. Colors are dope. But you can have a lot of that and still lack personality…That's the main unspoken thing that I think it is hard for people to kind of understand or put their tongue on … it’s like, ‘I don't know why I like this work, but I love it.’ And I think that's because of the soul. I think that that's something that consumers, even if they're not necessarily formally literate in art, that human aspect is still there. I think that you still are able to understand what you're seeing, even if you don't necessarily understand it… that’s the spiritual side of it.
So that was something that I was trying to tap into. - Trotter Alexander

The series connects with the legends of Maui, drawing on the goddesses Pele and Namaka and Ka Makana O’ka as well as the freedom and passion he experiences on the island.

…if you pay attention to this collection. There's a...motif of combustion…If I could describe anything about Hawaiians and how much I love them, Hawaiians are like that super dope chaotic friend that you have. That's the friend that you go to party with. And I think that a lot of Hawaiians are depicted as nice and peaceful people, and they are. But, that's not all that they are. And I think that their expression is more than just hula dancing. I think it's more than just ukulele playing. It's also…They like to just... Live. And…I have to manifest that in the vibrancy, I have to manifest that in the extreme shading or in the facial expressions…that fire is supposed to represent that chaos, but not in a negative connotation. but instead, 'I'm free. And this fire is my passion. This fire is the power that I believe in.' - Trotter Alexander

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Trotter Alexander’s 'The Story of Ka Makana O’ka' will be on exhibit at the Crossing Arts Alliance in downtown Brainerd until January 28th. He will give an artist’s talk Friday, January 27th from 5-7pm at the Crossing Arts Alliance. Everyone is welcome.

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.